Living in India – Postgraduate Guide
Written by Ben Taylor
With one of the world’s largest higher education systems, India is a major hub for international Masters students. The country’s dynamic cities, stunning countryside and well-preserved heritage sites make for an unforgettable study abroad destination.
This page will give you an introduction to student life in India, covering essentials like accommodation, living costs and transport.
What’s it like to study abroad in India?
India’s rich fabric of traditions, festivals and architecture contributes towards its incredible popularity with tourists (as well as international students!). The sheer size of the country means that it’s blessed with an endless diversity of landscapes, from the snowy Himalayas and tropical Goa to the Thar desert in Rajasthan and the Kerala backwaters.
Masters students in India will have the opportunity to experience stunning heritage sites like the Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the City Palace in Jaipur. If you’re a nature lover, the Kanha National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park feature a plethora of local wildlife – including tigers!
Of course, it would be impossible not to mention India’s wonderful cuisine(s). Each region has its own delicacies and culinary traditions, from Tandoori meat dishes in the north of the country to the delicious dosas of South India. You’ll be able to sample a fantastic variety of vegetarian dishes wherever you go, as well as world-class street food in the bustling cities and train stations.
There’s a wide range of accommodation on offer for international students in India, from university-owned on-campus housing through to all kinds of privately-rented options.
These are the main types of student accommodation you’ll encounter in India:
- International hostel – This is a hall of residence exclusively for international students at Indian universities, owned and maintained by the universities themselves.
- Combined hostel – This accommodation is similar to an international hostel, except it’s shared with home students (perfect if you want to make some local friends!).
- Private accommodation – It’s possible to choose from many different kinds of private accommodation in Indian cities, from self-contained studios to houseshares.
You should budget around INR 12,387 (USD $150) a month for your housing.
India is one of the most affordable study abroad destinations when it comes to living costs. Some of the typical student costs include:
- Restaurant meal – INR 200 (USD $2.42)
- Cinema ticket – INR 300 (USD $3.63)
- Monthly transport pass – INR 800 (USD $9.67)
- Monthly utilities – INR 2,860 (USD $34.69)
Learn more about studying in India
Looking for more information about Masters study in India? Our detailed guide covers everything from university rankings and courses to fees, funding and applications.
In most cases, international students aren’t permitted to work in India during their Masters. However, there are a handful of exceptions: namely, if you’re a Non-Resident Indian (NRI), Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) or a Person of Indian Origin (PIO), you may be able to take up part-time work if you seek permission from your university.
Similarly, if your Masters involves a compulsory internship or placement, you are free to take part in this as an international student.
By now you should have some awareness of what to expect from student life in India, with some ideas for cultural inspiration and natural adventures alike. There are a few more practicalities to bear in mind before you pack your bags, however.
You should make sure that you have a health insurance policy valid for the duration of your studies in India. Your university’s international office will often be able to help you find suitable cover.
It’s a good idea to open a local bank account when you arrive in India, as this will help you avoid unnecessary international transaction charges and make it easier for you to make payments in the local currency.
You’ll need to provide the following ‘Know-Your-Customer’ (KYC) documents:
- Indian visa
- A copy of your Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) permit
- Proof of your overseas address
- Proof of your Indian address (if you don’t have this, you’ll need to provide proof after confirming your accommodation)
- Letter of admission from your university
- Passport-size photograph
- A copy of a PAN card or Form 60 (these are documents that need to be completed for you to carry out financial transactions)
The local currency in Indian is the rupee (INR). ATMs are widespread in Indian cities and cards are accepted by many shops and restaurants.
India is a huge country, with massive distances involved in getting from city to city and region to region. Luckily India is home to one of the world’s most extensive railway networks, with more than 7,000 train stations across the country. Buses can be a useful way of reaching more remote areas of India. Several Indian cities have metro systems, including Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.